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The $349 billion coronavirus loan program for small businesses is out of money after 13 days

Daniel Roberts
Editor-at-Large

Less than two weeks after launching on April 3, the Trump administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses slammed by coronavirus has run out of funds, hitting the $349 billion initial allotment on Thursday morning, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA says 1.66 million applications were approved, totaling $349 billion in loans from 4,975 lending institutions.

It’s unclear how much of the $349 billion has actually been sent out the door to recipients—the SBA is not sharing disbursement figures, nor are the majority of banks—but by all accounts it is a very small portion so far. According to the website CovidLoanTracker.com, 84% of the PPP loan money that has been sent out has come from small or regional banks, with 9% of the funds coming from JPMorgan Chase (JPM). Many small-business owners had trouble navigating the application process, especially when going through big banks.

Now the attention will turn to those who didn’t get in the door yet and still need financial help: Will the government add more money to the program?

In a joint statement on Wednesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said, “The SBA has processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days... We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program—a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program—at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks.”

Portrait shot of business owner putting a closing down poster into a window during Covid 19 outbreak

Politicians on both sides of the aisle want more money added to the PPP pool, but they disagree over how to do it. Republicans largely want to add another $250 billion to program, with no asterisks; Democrats want to put some restrictions on the money to specify that more of it goes toward underbanked businesses, hospitals, and state and local governments.

“There is no time to insist on sweeping renegotiations or ultimatums,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is also among the prominent GOP voices to say that another $250 billion should be added to the PPP right away.

“It's beyond me why we can't come together,” Michigan Sen. Gary Peters told Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith on Wednesday. “I don't know why the Republicans are opposed to helping hospitals and why they're opposed to helping state and local governments that are struggling right now... We want to make sure the money is definitely going to those businesses that need it the most.”

Daniel Roberts is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

Read more on the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses:

These 4 businesses that have actually received PPP money have 1 thing in common: small banks

‘Nightmare’: 3 small business owners describe process of applying for PPP loans

Banks were not prepared for flood of small business coronavirus loan applications

Chef Marcus Samuelsson on coronavirus: ‘Where restaurants go away, so goes all small business’